GAME IN REVIEW
By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer
July 10th, 2013
ORLANDO – On Monday and Tuesday the Thunder won thrilling games in come-from-behind fashion. On Wednesday, the grinded out a victory with a big run and then a consistent effort the rest of the way.
Learning how to win different ways is a vital part of the development of young players, and the young Thunder group at Summer League displayed a new way in its 74-62 defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers. Jeremy Lamb led the way with 32 points and Steven Adams had a solid 13-point, five-rebound output, but it was a stout team defensive job on the Thunder’s part that got the job done. With quick help-side rotations and quick hands and feet, the Thunder didn’t allow the 76ers to get anything easy.
“It was just a team effort,” Lamb said. “When someone got beat, someone was there to help. There were a lot of second and third efforts. I think just being in our shell defense, helping each other out and talking, those things go a long way.”
Assistant coach Rex Kalamian has been directing the Thunder to be a defense-first unit, and he got his desired result Wednesday as his team held the 76ers to 35.9 percent shooting, including 4-for-18 from the three-point line. His players continually made sure to jump passing lanes, get around screens and play with hands in position to make a play. Just like the normal Thunder roster, this Summer League squad also talked one another through each defensive possession to be successful.
“Fighting through screens is one of our points of emphasis, definitely the communication and playing with five guys together on a string is huge for us,” Kalamian said. “Anytime we can get everybody talking and everybody moving at the same time and we’re covering up the paint and taking away their paint points, it’s a good night for us defensively.”
One day after Reggie Jackson set an Orlando Summer League record with 35 points, Jeremy Lamb set a new high mark. With 18 points at halftime and 29 through three quarters, Lamb consistently and efficiently put the ball in the bucket. He shot a cool 10-for-14 on the day, including 3-for-5 from behind the arc and 9-for-10 from the free throw line.
By being aggressive, assertive and decisive, Lamb put defenders in difficult positions both on and off the ball. What was most impressive, however, was the way the second year guard distributed the ball and acted as an all-around playmaker in the fourth quarter when the defense was keyed in on him.
“I was in the pick-and-roll a lot more,” Lamb said. “I was trying to hit the open man a little bit and make the right passes. They were telling me to shoot the ball. Even Reggie was telling me to shoot the ball, but my nature is to make the right pass and that’s what I did.”
“It felt good that the ball went in, but it felt a lot better that my teammates were behind me, getting me the ball, setting great screens and they still believed in me,” Lamb said. “All the credit goes to those guys.”
In the end, however, Lamb and his teammates were most proud of the effort on the defensive end. As these young players continue to learn and develop, they realize that there will be ups and downs and the whole process will take time. Something the players can control each and every day, however, is their intensity and dedication to team concepts, which start on the defensive end.
“It was a good defensive win for us,” Kalamian said. “It’s something we’ve been preaching since we started this league and the camp for summer league. It was a very good defensive effort for us. We’ve been preaching consistent defensive effort for 40 minutes and I think we had that tonight.”
The Thunder led by three at 33-30 coming out of the halftime break, and immediately took it to the 76ers with a 10-0 run to build a double-digit advantage. The run started by the Thunder forcing two turnovers, one of which led to a DeAndre Liggins corner three-pointer. Another fast break opportunity led to a Jeremy Lamb layup, then Liggins hit Lamb for a three-pointer before Steven Adams slammed home a dunk rolling to the basket to make it 43-30 with 6:58 remaining in the third quarter. The 76ers never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“In the second half we kind of turned it up a little bit,” Lamb said. “We were able to get a lot of stops and that’s what led to easy buckets and breakout layups. We just try to lock in on defense and that’s what helped us stretch the lead out.”
PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Steven Adams uses his length to deflect an entry pass into the paint while guarding his man at the high post. Great job by Jeremy Lamb to jump the passing lane to prevent a pass to the wing. Nice communication on the switch by Lamb and Dwight Buycks to help force a shot clock violation. Good anticipation by DeAndre Liggins to jump and swat away a potential entry pass. Beautiful backdoor pass from Liggins sets up Tony Taylor for a layup. Pretty bounce pass by Adams for Lamb on a backdoor cut. Adams dives on the floor and saves a loose ball for a teammate.
PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Two consecutive strong defensive possessions force two turnovers that lead to five fast break points for the Thunder. Hustle by Lamb to fight through screens, jump passing lanes and stay engaged with his man for an entire possession. Good job by Adams to stick with the play and slap away an intended lob pass. Liggins sticks strong defending on the ball and uses quick hands to slap it away.
Steals by DeAndre Liggins who also had six points and four assists
Shooting numbers for Steven Adams for the second straight day, scoring 13 points and adding five assists
Three-point shooting numbers for the Thunder, including 3-for-4 from Kyle Kuric
Free throw shooting numbers for the Thunder, good for 79.2 percent
Overall tournament points for the Thunder, putting them in first place through four days
Points for Jeremy Lamb, the third most in Orlando Summer League history, on 10-for-14 shooting
Shooting percentage the Thunder held the 76ers to, including 4-for-18 from three point land
Shooting percentage for the Thunder on the afternoon thanks to 15 assists on 23 made baskets
The 4-0 Thunder’s Summer League team has 20 overall tournament points so far in the Summer League, putting it in first place so far. Teams get three points for a win and one point for every quarter that it wins. After an off day on Thursday, the Thunder will play its final game on Friday with time and opponent to be determined depending on final seeding.